Dick of the Week, Jan. 24-Jan. 31: Robert Burton

7 Feb

Well we are all late this week so we have to start with something that makes sense.  Money.  Money makes the world go round.  In America, in Europe, and in all of our colleges.  And, money apparently does have a very big impact on college athletics (Supposedly).  Oh wait, I didn’t go to a big name school, sorry.  But apparently most big name schools will have big name donors fund their athletic departments for things such as scholarships, facilities, trips, and to sign players.  The argument for all this expense is that it brings positive attention to the college and much of the benefit will trickle down to the entire student body.  Fair point, I suppose.  We aren’t going to get into the cloak and dagger of the BCS or the whistle blowing of Death to the BCS, which happened to report that Florida made $47,000 total winning a national championship (That’s like 2 AND A HALF scholarships).  The NCAA yanks schools around but what most of us don’t see is what the donors do to the schools.

Robert Burton is an exceedingly wealthy man who clearly is very passionate about football.  He has, until now, graciously donated millions of dollars to The University of Connecticut (UConn)’s budding football program, which recently enjoyed its best season ever.  However, as does happen in life, the football coach saw a greater opportunity and decided to depart for another university; leaving UConn with the task of replacing him.  Fair enough.  And one can reasonably expect that many people were consulted in the decision to hire a new coach.  Robert Burton felt his voice fell, shall we say, on deaf ears.  He felt so disrepected that he has taken the liberty of severing all financial ties with the university and demanding the return of over 3 Million dollars.


He has even gone as far as to salt the earth by giving up his pricey box seats, ceasing all of his company’s training at the university and stopping all of his ad buys for UConn.  At first glance, yes this man is a massive dick.  Anyone who would take the time to curse a university that they once loved has to reconsider their priorities.  And secondly, we can guess the new coach and athletic directors’ days are numbered. But the thing that shocks me the most is how this information is being received by the masses.

“I think that Bob Burton is passionate,” said state Rep. Livvy Floren, R-149th District, a friend of the Burtons. “He’s passionate about his family. He’s passionate about his business and he’s very passionate about football.”  Umm ok, lets focus more on the fact that this man is taking away money from an educational institution, right?  I mean can we talk about how this will hurt UConn academically, let alone the football team?  This was such a damn emergency that the GOVERNOR had to get involved.  Wow, no public outrage?  Does this not seem petty to anyone else?  I guess the state of Connecticut is more worried about the death of its football funding than it is about the university as a whole.  They decided it was better to try and pander to him.

Guess who's going to foot the bill?

This is a classic case of the inmates running the asylum.  Universities have to cater to donors, but it has gotten to the point where the donors can get away with dictating to them.  Well they just didn’t talk to him enough, he’s just really passionate about football.  Yeah yeah, we get that.  But if he doesn’t have a say in your program’s final decision, you’ll lose his money?  And this is just Connecticut, I can’t imagine what the pull of these donors can be in Texas and Ohio.  At the end of the day, this just shows how much of a farce the “scholar athlete” is.  It’s all about catering to these people to play well for your school so you can get more money.  It’s not as much about making sure these athletes are properly prepared for the real world.  I mean 78% of them go bankrupt a short time after retiring from the pros, so clearly they learned how to manage their lives at these institutions.  But what can we expect when we put cameras on these kids when they just SIGN A LETTER OF INTENT. They aren’t there to learn, they are there to play.

The point is, this man is a dick for yanking the university around for not getting what he wants.  He may or may not have been consulted but clearly he wasn’t going to be happy unless they hired THE guy he wanted.  But also, the university is right behind because they are allowing this to occur.  Is it a broken system?  Maybe.  But it would be nice to see someone stand up.  It’s not like we are going to see a stem in the tide of impropriety that happens with a lot of these athletes because they feel entitled.  The students will end up being the ones to suffer the most because I don’t see college tuition going down any time soon.

Commendable Dick-tion: Matt Hasselbeck:Ha! a pun.  Yes, I will usually mock those who use puns, but for now this will be the exception that proves the rule.  “Somebody ask Cromartie if he knows what CBA stands for.” I give Matt props for calling a spade a spade.  While Cromartie might have made some good points about how the strike could impact players who have surgery because they can’t rehab if the strike happens, it’s just hilarious that Matt would make that joke.  I mean realistically, if his comments were off base, he would not have gotten so angry when it happened, right?

Tim Hardaway: Ok.  Athletes are bad with money. I get it.  But then we hear this.  Well good for you.  You got a bail out.  46.6 Millions dollars during your playing career, and you need a bail out for the house you can’t afford.  Nice.  I’m sure most American’s would agree you deserve it after you wisely spent your money.


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